Artistic Couple Enjoys Laid-Back Lifestyle | This Is Ellijay
When Tara Knadler was in college, she always dreamed she would own a bakery. Life, however, took Tara in a different direction--but not as far in a different direction as you would think.
Tara is a ceramacist. She and her husband Peyton are the team behind Ecology Ceramics. Together they spend their days making beautiful mugs, vases, soap dishes, and all sorts of other wares that bring an elevated touch of nature into your home.
Pottery is a meditative craft and one where Tara says many life lessons can be found:
"Sometimes there are pieces you will pour your everything into and something might go wrong because this craft has about a million variables to it. Learning to be persistent and knowing how to lose something without feeling failure. Also learning how to appreciate the things that go right!"
Likewise, pottery is a craft that requires a lot of time, patience, and waiting. Luckily, Tara and Peyton have found the perfect hobbies to fill the spaces in between: gardening and making herbal remedies. They aim for permaculture and sustainability, often drawing information from online communities and inspiration from the beauty of the Southern Appalachians that surround them.
"You don’t get this lifestyle everywhere," Tara says. "We are very lucky to be in the middle of such a diverse ecosystem."
Tara and Peyton met while they were both enrolled in the art program at Kennessaw State University. Peyton worked for a real estate photographer for several years while Tara finished college. When they began their family, they decided to move to the mountains where they could focus on making art and living sustainably. They settled in Ellijay four years ago and have putting down roots here (both literally and figuratively) ever since.
"Our goal is to leave our kids with a property that continues to grow with them," Tara says, "Providing them with everything they need to flourish in life."
Ellijay is very different from Metro Atlanta. Long regarded as a retirement community and tourist destination, people often ask Peyton and Tara why they would want to raise their family in Gilmer County. Tara's response is simple:
"Because we want to live like we are retired. We live in a beautiful place with a community that is personable and friendly. The pace of life is that of people enjoying life and not just hustle and bustle."
In years past, the couple has enjoyed selling their ceramics at the local Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings. They love to showcase elements of nature in their designs like blue and brown-toned stemless wine glasses reminiscent of a rushing river, mugs featuring trout and ceramic deer antler handles, and their iconic monstera leaf designs.
Although the natural beauty and laid-back lifestyle made Tara and Peyton fall in love with Ellijay, it is the kindness of their community and the sense of potential that keep them finding new reasons to love the life they are making here. Tara says that there is always something new to discover and there is always a sense that something good is just over the horizon.
Recently Tara has been drawing new inspiration from Downtown Ellijay on little daily adventures. She will take a few of her pieces along and stage them around recognizable places downtown. The Ecology Ceramics pieces meld so organically into the downtown scene that it is almost a metaphor for how effortlessly the Knadler's dream life fits with Ellijay's laid-back pace.
At the end of the day, the Knadler's greatest joy is creating a rich life that they love and finding ways to share that richness with others. Whether it is by creating herbal remedies to soothe whatever ails you or by crafting pieces from fire, water, and earth to bring a little nature into your home, the Knadlers are always finding something new to bring to the table.
Follow The Knadlers' Journey
Shop Their Store: Ecology Ceramics
Facebook: Ecology Ceramics
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